The results of a pilot project by the Ministry of Health to get family  doctors to work with chiropractors in family care teams showed doctors requested  fewer MRIs and made fewer referrals to surgeons for their patients with low back  problems.  According to Beatrice Fantoni of the Windsor Star in an article dated June 12, 2012, the ‘Consulting Chiropractor’ pilot project had chiropractors do 30-minute  assessments of patients with low back pain and discuss the treatment options  with the patient’s family doctor. Environics Research Group and the Ontario  Chiropractic Association then polled participating family physicians. Aside from fewer tests and referrals, the doctors reported that having the  chiropractor in their team made for quicker turnaround and boosted patients’ confidence in the diagnosis and treatment options.

“Back pain is a common problem that causes significant disability,” said Jan  Kasperski, who heads the Ontario College of Family Physicians, in a statement on  Tuesday. “Better management of these patients by family doctors supported by the  expertise of various healthcare professionals such as chiropractors and  physiotherapists is a solution that will ensure Ontarians with back pain will  receive the best care possible.”

According to the OCA, about three quarters of family doctors in Ontario are  already referring their patients to chiropractors and more than 80 per cent of  Ontario’s working population is affected by low back pain, which is the  second-most popular cause of lost work time after the common cold.

Data from the OCA shows low back pain costs $1.2 billion each year in Ontario  alone in direct and indirect costs. Low back pain is second only to heart  disease as the main cause of chronic health problems and long-term  disability.

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